Manufactured Homes: Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy

What Is a Manufactured Home, and Should I Buy One

Imagined homes may include manufactured ones. Manufactured houses often cause prejudice in America due to images associated with sloped floors, drafty doorways, and subpar building materials; but modern manufactured homes now provide great quality construction that often cannot be distinguished from site-built properties.

Are you shopping for a house on a limited budget? Consider looking at manufactured homes as they can be easier for first-time buyers,

Here, you will gain an in-depth knowledge of a manufactured home as we discuss its components; specifically what it entails and which options may exist, along with any necessary cautionary notes when purchasing one.

What is a Manufactured Home?

HUD defines manufactured homes as structures constructed according to HUD’s Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards with at least 400 square feet in area and featuring an integral permanent chassis (usually steel) designed for easy transportation and safety.

Manufactured homes are constructed under controlled environments before being transported in multiple sections to their final destinations – where they may be installed permanently onto foundations, lots, or home parks. Each section will bear a HUD certification label with a unique identification number to prove they were constructed according to standards set out by HUD.

Manufactured homes differ significantly from modular ones in several important respects. While both forms of homes can be constructed at one factory location and assembled on-site, manufactured homes tend to come as single, two, or three pieces requiring permanent chassis mounting systems; meaning you could theoretically move a manufactured home more than once.

Modular homes are constructed using “modules”, or individual pieces, that can be assembled onsite to form various floor plans. Their modular nature means they’re more adaptable for various designs than their site-built counterparts and don’t need permanent chassis support – once set on its foundation they won’t move again!

U.S. manufactured homes are more commonly known by their colloquial names “mobile homes or trailers”, however, homes built since 1976 that comply with HUD Code are officially considered manufactured homes and should be called such.

Mobile homes and trailers may carry negative connotations associated with lower quality construction and rundown appearance; thus the term “manufactured home” might be better as these more modern-looking and higher quality manufactured homes often set themselves apart with superior construction techniques and innovative design features.

What Kinds of Manufactured Homes Can You Buy?

Manufactured homes are not same as modular ones. They are described as single-width homes. 

These homes typically take the shape of rectangular structures; however, exact sizes and square footage may differ between homes.

  • Single-wides usually range between 750-1,050 square feet in floor area.
  • Double wides are between 1,067-2300
  • Three wides can go as high as 4,320; often these additional square footage are used to configure different floor plans instead of simply increasing total square footage.

Double-wide manufactured homes typically fall within the range of median new home size, providing just as much living space as many site-built properties. Furthermore, many manufactured homes come equipped with features that make them almost indistinguishable from site-built properties, including:

  • Customizable floor plans
  • Garages
  • Decks
  • Porches
  • Upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms

What should Buyers Think About vis-a-vis Manufactured Homes?

Even though modern manufactured homes may fit in seamlessly with site-built properties, prospective buyers should still be mindful of some key differences when searching for their manufactured homes. Here we outline all of the things to look out for or consider when shopping for one.

Buying new or used

With site-built homes, whether the house is new or previously owned rarely matters except when it comes time for repairs and inspections. Unfortunately, this may not always be true with manufactured homes.

When purchasing a brand-new manufactured home, financing should not present much difficulty; you could bundle a loan for both property and mortgage purposes into one loan agreement. When searching for used manufactured homes though, it is critical that they were built and never moved from their original site.

Although manufactured homes come equipped with permanent chassis that makes moving easier, their condition doesn’t always stand up well when subjected to multiple moves. A home that has been moved multiple times may become vulnerable and damaged over time; as a result, loan approval might prove challenging or impossible depending on state and local regulations.

If you are considering purchasing a used manufactured home, make sure that its identification tags and paperwork have been checked against local records to see if the home has ever been relocated, how it was transported professionally, and obtain an engineer’s certification of its foundation.

Insulation, Ventilation, and Energy Efficiency

Modern manufactured homes tend to be energy efficient. If you are viewing older manufactured homes, make sure that you assess their insulation and ventilation measures in terms of what upgrades may need to be implemented before making any final decisions. suggests the following retrofit measures as ways for an older manufactured home to become more energy-efficient:

  • Install energy-efficient windows and doors (typical window costs may range between $850 to $1,024 while doors average around $1,024)
  • Add insulation (insulating an entire home typically costs an average of $2,900).
  • Repair cracks and ducts with caulking for general repairs of cracks and ducts.
  • Add insulation to the walls
  • Install Insulated Skirting (insulated vinyl skirting typically costs from $1,440 to $4,000.).
  • Install a belly wrap (Costs may vary; expect to spend several hundred dollars).
  • Add insulation or install a roof cap

Cost of Home

Manufactured homes tend to be more affordable than their stick-built counterparts. Florida real estate agent Chuck Shaver notes, “Manufactured homes tend not to have homeowner’s associations and lower taxes; for that same $100K budget you could find one with superior main suite features, larger walk-in closets, and luxurious bath compared to its conventional equivalent.”

As these homes tend to offer lower purchase costs than more costly models, these properties make an appealing option for first-time homebuyers and retirees looking for downsizing homes.

Land, and Whether it is Included or Not

Due to their construction in warehouses, manufactured homes may require separate purchases of land plots and homes. Some people even opt to buy one house before renting its lot – though most times this doesn’t pose too many obstacles! In general, though, purchasing both elements together shouldn’t prove too complex of an experience.

Greg Clark of Waco, Texas notes that when purchasing an existing mobile home and land together, both are typically sold together; but when purchasing newly built manufactured homes from their manufacturer they often acquire those lots themselves and roll it into the loan package.

Some individuals start their search for the land they like by purchasing it first and planning for its eventual placement in their manufactured home later. Be mindful when doing this though – regulations could restrict you from placing one there!

Getting a Loan for a Manufactured Home

There are a lot of government-backed mortgages for the latest manufactured homes, which include FHA and VA loans. If it’s a conventional mortgage you’re looking for, “You may be better off going to the local banks because sometimes their threshold for risk is a little bit different,” Clark says. Clark.

Customers who have a connection with a local institution could be able to ask whether they have loans that are available for manufactured homes. This is a helpful tip when you’re trying to obtain a loan on a manufactured house that has been relocated since it is more difficult to get an ordinary mortgage for these types of properties.

Shaver mentions that in certain locations, the builders might be able to offer financing. “I have sold houses to people who were searching for land. Thus, I helped them locate the land they were looking for and then took them to the manufacturer of their home. They paid for the land as well as the land which was a one-stop shop.”

Your Home’s Value Over Time

People buy homes to think it as investment.They plan to sell it when the sale value will increase, and they will earn profit. But manufactured homes not always give profit. As per Clark, “Year over year, they’re going to depreciate quicker than a regular home around here.”

The worth of the land that the home is situated on could benefit compensate for the decline in value of your home. But, compatible with Shaver, the decline in the worth of built homes might not be the norm across the board.

“Allegedly, values decline over time. I’ve heard it all the time however, I’ve sold mobile homes and the cost goes up and up. I’ve never believed in the notion that they will not rise in value over time.”

Find an Agent Who can Help you Find a Manufactured Home

Though manufactured homes once carried an unfortunate image, modern models often meet high-quality standards and appear virtually indistinguishable from any other homes on the market.

“Don’t make assumptions,” warns Shaver. “There are plenty of lenders; someone will finance them and it would be best if your agent has experience dealing with manufactured homes.”


Manufactured homes have come quite far, offering affordability and modern conveniences for buyers from different backgrounds. These homes are ideal for homebuyers who are new to the market as well as for retirees. Take into account the options for financing, depreciation and financing, and consult with an agent who is experienced in manufactured homes to find out whether this is the accurate feature for your dream home ownership journey!

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